It is customary for most of my relatives to gather at my parent's house on the first day of Syawal since my mum is the eldest in her family of very many siblings. It was the same even when we were staying at our old Kelana Jaya house. 20 years ago, on the first day of raya, my life changed. I lost 10 kg during the fasting month without any exercise or a controlled diet... no it was without intention. I was way underweight and was all bones without flesh. The Lower Certificate of Education (SRP) exam was only a few months away. I kept falling sick with high temperature and frequented the neighbouring Clinic at SS5 only to be prescribed with more baskets full of medicine but the body temperature continued to boil.
It was in 1989, after performing the morning Raya prayer at the mosque I quickly rushed back home and went to bed without any food. Although I could feel my body temperature boiling hotter but I was freezing. I tucked myself under the duvet disregarding any relatives at the house. My house was packed with uncles, aunties and cousins that I can hear the noise from my room on the first floor although the door was closed tight. Nobody search and asked for me and I was grateful as I was really struggling in pain. Later in the late afternoon, another uncle, Dato' Dr Ramli Mohamad came and insisted for me.
He was shocked to see me so pale and thin akin of a zombie. He was the first that saw my sufferings. At school and home I was branded an addict. It was in the same year that the government launched an anti-Dadah campaign and advertised the symptom of an addict which a drastic lost in weight being the most prominent signal. I was penalised daily at school too when teachers mistakenly suspected I was on drugs. Dato Dr Ramli or more fondly known as Ayah Li, insisted that I should go for a thorough medical check-up with a specialist. Even if there is nothing wrong, it was best to be certain, he continued to insist. A few days later, my mum brought me to Dr Nik Isahak and I was diagnosed to have leukaemia.
Four days ago, that uncle that took special interest in me when nobody else did, passed away after a struggle with cancer.
I am lost of words of what to write but I cant stop replaying in my mind, thinking and feeling that moment when I was a teenager feeling so lost, feeling so weak, feeling so alone on the first day of raya although the house was packed with relatives but it was him that first saw me dying.
Although it was 20 years ago, memory last forever. I am glad that I was able to speak and kiss him a day before he was sedated and never gained consciousness. I miss you. I can only pray to Allah swt for his well being hereafter.